MURFREESBORO – One of America’s premier traditional music festivals, the 33rd Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days old-time music and dance festival, will take place July 9-11 in historic Cannonsburgh Village.
The family-oriented event annually draws more than 40,000 people during the three-day run. The Atlanta-based Southeast Tourism Society has chosen it as one of the top 20 tourism events in 2010 for July. The American Bus Association designated Uncle Dave Macon Days as one of the Top 100 events in North America for 2008.
New this year will be a $5 per day admission charge, with an $8 two-day ticket available. Contestants will be allowed to enter one contest free and there will be no charge to enter either of the two band competitions. There will be no admission charge for Sunday’s activities.
The festival was established first as a two-hour banjo picking on the lawn of the historic Rutherford County Courthouse on the public square to honor the memory and times of Uncle Dave Macon. Uncle Dave lived near Murfreesboro in the Kittrell community, and is considered one of the first Grand Ole Opry superstars. A master old-time banjo player and performer, he died in 1952, and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.
A purse of more than $10,000 will be at stake during the highly charged music and dance competitions July 9-10. The festival is home to the National Old-Time Championships in banjo, clogging and buckdancing as proclaimed in 1986 by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two coveted awards are presented at the event. The Trailblazer Award will be given on Friday evening. The 2010 winner is banjo player and performer Curtis McPeake, who, additionally, is a leading expert on vintage Gibson banjos. This honor is bestowed on those whose careers have blazed a trail in traditional music. On Saturday, multi-talented husband-and-wife duo Norman and Nancy Blake will be presented the 2010 Heritage Award. The Heritage Award is given to individuals dedicated to the preservation and advancement of old-time music and dance. Both winners are invited to ride in the Motorless Parade that travels down East Main Street on Saturday, July 10.
Also on Saturday is the presentation of the annual Macon-Doubler Fellowship recipient. This is part of the festival’s education program funded by members of Uncle Dave Macon’s family and other supporters. The fellowship is a small scholarship presented to a beginning student to fund lessons in traditional music and dance.
Other events taking place throughout the festival include: heritage activities for children, including an instrument petting zoo, mouth-watering local concessions, a juried arts and crafts show, living history demonstrations in the blacksmith shop, shape-note singing in the chapel, free workshops, a historic photo exhibit and a Sunday Gospel Sing and Community Service Fair that goes from noon until 4 p.m. July 11.
The celebration takes place in Cannonsburgh, an authentic pioneer village that is home to more than 20 restored log structures. The village is located at 312 South Front St. (just off of Northwest Broad Street) and is 30 minutes southeast of Nashville on Interstate 24 east, exit 78B. Call 615-890-0355 to learn more about Cannonsburgh.
The fun starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 9, and, 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 10. Registration opens one hour earlier for the music and dance competitions. Sunday’s activities start at noon. Free and paid parking is available. For more information, call 615-893-2371,1-800-716-7560 or visit the festival online at www.uncledavemacondays.com.